Sunday, January 3, 2016

Cats in Art: Animals Entering the Ark (Bassano)

Back from hiatus.  

From my continuing weekly Sunday series of cats in art.  Having moved on from Stefano Zuffi's marvelous work, The Cat in ArtI am now using some ideas from Caroline Bugler's equally impressive book, The Cat/3500 Years of the Cat in Art.



Image credit Museo Nacional del Prado, Animals Entering the Ark, Jacopo Bassano, 1570, oil on canvas, 81" x 104", held by Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain.


Since this nearly 500 year old image is rather large and dark, of course we need the kitty close-up from the lower left corner:



Bugler's comment:
The illustrious and prolific Bassano family of artists, who worked in the are around Venice, habitually incorporated animals not their paintings.  Jacopo's workshop produced several pictures on the theme of Noah's Ark.  All the animals are about to board with their mates, and two cats are crouching quietly in the bottom left-hand corner.  The one with the white coat and tabby markings is very similar to other cats in Jacopo's work, and it is tempting to think that it is a portrait of a family cat.

The featured cat seems a tad uneasy, perhaps by the proximity of the pair of dogs immediately to the right.  In fact, the second kitty--dark gray and in the shadows--practically finds itself underneath one of the dogs.  Not a cat's preferred location, I'd wager.

But as for the art, the white tabby is flawlessly rendered, looking especially lifelike and virtually three-dimensional on the canvas.  And I like the notion that it may well be one of Bassano's cats, preserved for all time in this painting.

See my previous Jacopo Bassano post on The Supper at Emmaus, here.  The kitty in that painting does look the same.


Gary note: With my Cats in Arts posts, I encourage you to scope out the art appreciation site Artsy (I have no financial interest in the site, I just like it), where you can explore many aspects of the world of art.  You'll certainly be entertained and enlightened!


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